Inhibition of hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA thioesterases in ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) and turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) by lipase inhibitors

Plant Physiol Biochem. 2013 Nov;72:46-53. doi: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2013.02.012. Epub 2013 Mar 5.


Ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) and turmeric (Curcuma longa L.), members of the Zingiberaceae, are widely used in traditional Asian cuisines and herbal medicine. Gingerols and diarylheptanoids, important compounds from these plants, appear to be produced by enzymes of the type III polyketide synthase class. Previous efforts to detect activity of such enzymes in tissues from these plants were only marginally successful in turmeric and completely unsuccessful in ginger because of very rapid hydrolysis of the hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA substrates (p-coumaroyl-CoA, feruloyl-CoA and caffeoyl-CoA) in these assays, presumably due to the presence of thioesterases in these tissues. In order to determine whether such thioesterase activities were specific and could be reduced so that the polyketide synthase activities could be better characterized, three inhibitors of the thioesterase domain of fatty acid synthase were tested in assays with leaf and rhizome crude protein extracts from these plants: orlistat, a reduced form of lipstatin, and peptide 1 and peptide 2 from hydrolysates of soybean β-conglycinin. Results of these analyses indicated that specific thioesterases do exist in these plants and that they could indeed be inhibited, with highest inhibition occurring with a mixture of these three compounds, leading for example to a reduction of caffeoyl-CoA hydrolysis in leaves and rhizomes of ginger by 40-fold and 27-fold, respectively.

Keywords: ACP; BCoA-TE; CHS; CafCoA-TE; CoA; DTT; FAS; FCoA-TE; Ginger; HCoA-TE; Hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA thioesterase; NaTDC; Orlistat; PKS; PVPP; TE; Turmeric; Zingiberaceae; acyl carrier protein; benzoyl-CoA thioesterase; caffeoyl-CoA thioesterase; chalcone sythase; coenzyme A; dithiothreitol; fatty acid synthase; feruloyl-CoA thioesterase; hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA thioesterase; p-Coumaroyl-CoA thioesterase; pCCoA-TE; polyketide synthase; polyvinylpolypyrrolidone; sodium taurodeoxycholate; thioesterase; β-conglycinin peptides.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Curcuma / drug effects
  • Curcuma / enzymology*
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Esterases / metabolism*
  • Ginger / drug effects
  • Ginger / enzymology*
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Plant Proteins
  • Esterases